tv Nancy Grace HLN November 2, 2009 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
different times. rather than having me have to get my daughter to take off work, which is a half day, for her to go to the test and then return home. it's expensive, it is invasive, it is inconvenient, and it is something that congress could address and do something about. i think that most people agree with that. and it is of concern to us that h.r. 3961, the speaker's bill, nearly -- it's 1,990 pages of bill. it is a big bill. this bill, this huge bill, and we're going to have that bill on the floor for you to see tonight, this bill would be really a bill that is not fair to our seniors and it does concern us. it's one of the primary concerns that we do have in this piece of
legislation, the unfair price of this if it would move forward on our seniors and, as we are going through our special order tonight, if you would like to log onto my website, blackburn.house.gov and pull down the legislation and follow along through it as we go through it, we certainly would appreciate that you would do so. the legislation, as i said, we feel it's going to be very unfair to seniors. they're talking about making -- making the cut to the tune of a half trillion dollars in medicare. basically doing away with medicare advantage and then look what's happening with this. cutting medicare by 2017. we all know the medicare trust fund is going to be running out of money. but what we're seeing from the democrat leadership of this house is the failure to
recognize that medicare is a trust fund, medicare is not a slush fund and we want to make certain that we protect our seniors as we work through this bill. i am so pleased that we have women who are joining us on the floor tonight and at this time i yield to the gentlelady from west virginia, mrs. capito, for her comments on health care. mrs. capito: well, thank you. i'd like to thank the gentlewoman from tennessee. she's been an advocate for health care but also commonsense health care and i think that's what we're facing here today. we're looking at a bill that speaker pelosi has put before this body, we've already heard that it's 1,990 pages. i heard it weighs 20 pounds. and it just defies logic that anybody can honestly say they know each and everything that is in this bill -- each and every thing that is in this bill. for those of you who know
washington, who know what can happen, i think that would raise some serious questions and it certainly does in my mind, but in your mind, as to what are in the far reaches of this bill. i'd like to talk a little bit about women in health care because being a member of congress, a woman member of congress, we have certain duties, but we have so many other duties like women across this country, that when we come into washington like many of us did today, we still have a little bit of our hearts or a lot of our hearts at home with our families, with our children, with our husbands, with our parents, with our siblings. because we're the nurturers. we're the ones who, as women, who oversee the health care in the family, we're the once who -- when the babies are little and they're coughing at night, put our ears to their chests to see if they're having some respiratory issues and i think we're the once that, as we
become the generation, i have grown children and elderly parents, that we're the once that our parents come to to help them get the appointments, fill their medications, help them with the forms, make sure that things are going in the right direction when they can no longer depend on each other. i'm quite lucky, my parents are in their 80's and they're extremely self-sufficient on their own. but some day they're going to need that help that i as a daughter and my sister and brother will provide for them. and in west virginia i found -- just coming here today it was astounding to me the number of folks that just randomly approached me about knowing what is on the docket here, the speaker's 1,900 -- over 1,9 hub-page, $1 trillion health care bill and people are concerned. i met a woman and i was in
wendy's having lunch today and i met a woman and she asked me to come over and talk with her. she was 75. she is 75 years old, quite remarkable. and her mother had died the day before. so we have a great history of longevity in our state. and she's very concerned about this bill because she feels that not only is the bill being balanced on almost a half trillion dollars of cuts in medicare and medicaid, which will influence her health care, but she is very concerned about government bureaucracy making decisions for her health care. she's very concerned about the government getting in between her decisions and her doctors' decisions and she's really quite honestly afraid of rationing of care. because she's 75 years old, is she going to get the same care that she might have if she was 50 or 25? and these are the kinds of thoughts that are very real and they were very real for her, as
i talked with her over lunch. then as i was going to get on my plane this afternoon i was buying a bottle of water and the lady behind the counter said, well, you're going back to washington, right? i said, right, going back to washington. and she said, it's health care, right? i said, right, it's health care. and this voice in the back of the room said, don't mess with my health care. again, her view was, she's not on medicare yet, but she had parents that were, she's concerned about their medicare but she also concerned -- her -- but she's also concerned -- her concern was government-run health care. she sees this bill as it is. it's a government reach into her health care. and she was very concerned. so then as i was coming back in from the airport i had a man who asked me, going to talk about health care, right?
i said, right. and he goes, well, let me tell you, he said, if in any way that health care bill in any way would leave a crack in the door for my taxpayer dollars to go for funding of abortion i am going to go on a rampage. he said, i can understand, i want to give and i want to help, but this was his line in the sand. and so you can see that everybody has a different perspective and the 1,990 pages that are in the speaker's bill are causing great concern on a whole lot of levels. i did some research on west virginia women. 51% of west virginia residents are women. and the 442,000 women in west virginia who receive health care coverage through their employer, which is over almost 60% of the women, i'm concerned about them because they have health care
that generally serves their needs. we need to go in and make sure we make adjustments, that we fill the cracks in the lack of access or coverage. but i'm concerned and i think it's a real concern that the speaker's bill is going to come in and force over 60% of the women who have coverage for their employers to be put into a government-run insurance program that they don't choose. it's not of their own choosing. and then if they choose -- maybe if that's not what happens, then the insurance option that they have is going to be the one that the government panel says meets adequate coverage. what does that mean? what does that mean to the 60% of the women covered through share insurance, through their employer? you know, i think we have to look at what's this going to do to small businesses? only 33% of the small businesses in our state who have employs
less than 50 offer coverage. we need to fill that gap. as republicans we've come together to find ways to fill the gaps for small businesses, make it affordable, make it available, make it accessible. but the bill that is created by speaker pelosi and those in the leadership does not do enough and what it does do is put another tax on small business to provide that insurance. lastly, i ask a lot of the women in my district what they really thought about the plan as they understand it, expanded government involvement in health care. 54% of the women say they would not personally trade their coverage for a public plan. 56% disagree that they would be best served by government-run health care. 75% have said they don't want
significant changes in their own health care. and 64% of the women in west virginia said that they prefer private insurance over the public option. these are women that are accessing the health care system not just for themselves, not just for their own families, they're accessing it for their parents, many of them work in the health care system, they see how it's working, they see how the changes that could be made and they're rejecting out of hand and i know my colleagues will expand on this tonight, the women are rejecting the type of changes where government goes between you and your health care provider. and i believe that's what's happened in this plan, not to mention, or even just briefly mention, the over $1 trillion price tag that's attached to this bill which for men and women across the country know that this is going to be on the backs of their children and grandchildren, a legacy of debt and deficit that's going to be passed on.
so i'd like to thank the gentlewoman from tennessee for -- and all of my colleagues -- for being here tonight. those are some of the perspectives that i have and it's so interesting to me that in the brief time today that i was out among folks, how tuned in everybody is to this. how aware because heament care is so personal -- because health care is so personal. it's such an everyday thing for so many people that everybody has an opinion because they're basically living it. this isn't something that's seen from afar or they're hoping happens or it's happening to their neighbor, it's happening in everybody's home in america and people are standing up and saying how they feel about it, where the changes need to be made and how they feel and generally speaking today the speaker's 1,900-page bill, $1 trillion bill, got a big goose egg because i didn't run into one person who said, that sounds like the plan for me. thank you. mrs. blackburn: i thank the
gentlelady from west virginia and i thank her for those comments about women in west virginia and how this bill would affect them. and what we are hearing all across our nation is, this is not a bill that women want. indeed, the spot, whymomsrule.com ran a survey and only 7% of the american women think the health care proposals that have been brought by the leadership, the democrat leadership, are proposals that reflect their concern. we know that, we are listening, we hear them and we have ways to solve this issue so it puts patients and families in charge of those decisions, not the federal government and it preserves that freedom and indeed for small businesses and we all know, women-owned small businesses are a very active part in our economy, in our
financial sectorers and we're very concerned about -- sectors and we're very concerned about the impact for employer-based insurance, that this bill would have -- insurance that this bill would have on those women-owned businesses. at this time i'd like to turn to the gentlelady from illinois, mrs. biggert, who has been such an active voice not only in the education and labor committee but in the house as a whole as she has led on this issue and i yield to the gentlelady. mrs. biggert: i thank the gentlewoman from tennessee and thank you for having this tonight. you know, i was just thinking that i've got four children and eight grandchildren and so i think as a mom and a grandmother i've always been very concerned about health care and wanting to make sure that my family has the best possible. when i was raising the children all we had was doctor spock. we didn't have all the
technology and all the wonderful drug therapy and the health care that we have now in the united states and i'm always concerned about the quality of health care. we want to make sure -- sure we need reform but we want to make sure there's that quality of health care that we have now. and we've got moms, doctors, nurses, caregivers and taxpayers and women that really play a critical role in the health care debate. 85% of women are the primary health care decisionmakers in the home and that's why we take this so seriously. the u.s. census bureau reports that 82 million adult women are moms and 32 million women have a child living in their home. so women are overwhelmingly supportive of health care reform but they want to know that this will improve the quality and affordability of their current health care.
so many women and their families hire health care costs -- their families, higher health care costs means receiving care and going without. unfortunately the pelosi health care bill empowers government bureaucracies and undermines womens' ability -- women's ability to make the best health care decisions for her and her family. i have a letter that one of my constituents sent. from maryanne and she writes to me, as a registered nurse and mother of a severely disabled child, i beg to you seriously consider the long and short-term affects of the new health care proposal. i am horrified to think that medical decisions will be determined by our government. i have seen this fail in many countries. i happen to be of the opinion that the precious commodity of life far exceeds the almighty dollar. .
one of my daughters lives in london. and i asked her about the health care over there. and when she brings my three grandchildren home for a visit, she takes them to see the pediatrician that i took her to see just to make sure that they're in the best of health and make sure that somebody from the united states is looking after them. and she said, well now in london, it's a different system. it started out where doctors don't have this high debt. they don't have the high cost of the medical school that we have here. it's paid for, so they start in the system and they're in the public system. and then some of them become private doctors. now my daughter has the public health care and also has a private doctor and said in emergencies, it's really --
you're well taken care of. but it's the long-term. let's say you have a rash on your arm and they say we'll make appointment for you but it is nine months later. she said if you go on and check on the current wait list in london, for example, the current wait list at the time i checked was 11 months for a knee replacement, 10 months for a hip replacement, five months for a slipped disk and these are a few of these that they wait so long for. what that leads to is also rationing and i had an event this morning where one of the doctors stood up and talked about his belief there he believed there would be rationing particularly with how many doctors are going to want to remain in a situation like this. we think of them as professionals.
i thought if i could be as smart as the doctors, they were a profession that was so outstanding. so this leads not only to rationing for these procedures, but also we have had a debate about the end of life and how 80% of the costs -- i think as women, when i read in the first bill and the exchange is voluntary rather than mandatory counseling there. and in my former life, i was a probate attorney and i did estate planning. and what was always so important was to counsel families on aging and to make sure that they had the decision of the family, the decision of the elderly and what they wanted to happen.
there was always this durable power of tonche that they did so -- attorney so that their wishes were known. the durable power of attorney and living will and do not resuccess tate. and it is important and important to do it if you ever reach that time. and this bill focuses on when -- they're doing it as if you have already aged. this is not something that should be put into statute. this is something that families should address and this is their choice and not some bureaucrat. mrs. blackburn: if the gentlelady would yield, i just want to expound on this point for just a moment, because the point you're making is so relevant to this debate. the bill that is before us now,
1,990-page bill that speaker pelosi has brought forward and we hear tomorrow, there will be a manager's amendment that will be dropped or also added to this, so it's going to be more than 2,000 pages by the time we get to the end of the week. in that bill, there are the provisions that mandate that end-of life counseling. mrs. biggert: because of the concern and the outrage of so many of the american people on that and particularly the seniors that were put off by that, they have changed it to voluntary. and so it's a little bit better, but it's something that shouldn't be in statute and shouldn't be -- you know, if a family wants to go to the doctor and say what are the things we should do. but then to have the durable
power of attorney so let's say someone is in the hospital, they know what the wishes are of the patient as well as what the family and the family know the wishes of that patient. this should be done long before we get to that. mrs. blackburn: if the gentlelady would yield, that's one of those decisions that families make, husbands and wives make, parents and children make, it is not one that should be addressed with a shall or a may in a federal statute. and we all that this bill has over 3,400 new mandates. and i yield back to the gentlelady. mrs. biggert: reclaiming my time. it is so important and it is something that has really been -- really hit the fan and there is a lot of rhetoric on this. but this is a decision to be made by the family, the children
and the patient and it should be done early in life. we have to make plans like that. it's not something that is never going to happen, but let's not mandate it or make it something that a doctor has to do and is paid to do as part of his job. that's not -- doctor is a counselors at time but the families should come to them and request it. not to say it in statute. and i'm concerned about the rationing. makes you think of well, they're going to float out on an iceberg or something when the end of life comes and what we want is quality of care throughout everybody's life and to make sure that we have the ability to do that. and the doctors, you know, that do deal with these issues, but they need to have the map as to
what the family wants in that regard. so i think that women as the caregivers are the ones who have to make those decisions and it's a tough decision and to bring up a subject early on that you might not want to talk about but it's something we need to did and do it by our choice and not by the government-run plan telling us to do that. so with that -- let me say a couple of things about women and there's been a new poll out that, in short in this poll released on october 28, women believe that their current health insurance is better for them and their families than what the pelosi plan has proposed. and while a majority of women view health care reform as an important issue, only 42% are
satisfied with the proposal that is before congress and only 38% would like to change their own insurance to a public option. and while 48% of women want slight changes to health care, generally, 75% of women want few to no changes to their own health care. it's kind of interesting. you talk about how i'm on the education and labor committee and when we were marking up the bill, i had an amendment that said if you like the health care plan you have now, you can keep it and that was voted down by the other side of the aisle unanimously. and women are concerned with costs. women care about affordability and concerned with the cost. 5% of women believe that congress should spend over $1 trillion on health care reform, which is the cost and 45% of
women would be likely to support a candidate that votes in favor of such a costly health care bill. and women believe that health care reform is moving too fast. congress should slow down. only 9% of women want reform legislation in the next few weeks and we are looking at addressing this this week. 20% would likely by the end of 2009. and believe that congress should pass the reform bill when quality legislation is developed even if it means with no deadline. we have a health care plan that if everybody thought was a great plan, we would be passing it and we would have passed it into law, but this is now july, august, september, october and now in november and there are
concerns by the american on this. i hope we can slow down and really have a dialogue a debate on this and find common ground to find a bill that people would get behind. with that, i yield back. mrs. blackburn: i thank the gentlelady and i appreciate so much the fact that you brought up they continue to say if you like what you have, you can keep it. the problem is you can't. maybe you can keep it today, tomorrow or the end of the year, but by the time you get to 2013, you are going to go through an exchange and have to go through -- well, i have a list here of 111 new bureaucracies that is created by the speaker's health care bill, 111 new bureaucracies. there's going to be a health choices commissioner that is going to have over 60 new
directives on what kind of health care you can have. and you're going to have the exchange that has to approve the plan that your employer would possibly be able to offer and if your employer's plan is not good enough, the employer gets an 8% tax. so it's a little bit of a stretch to say, if you like what you have, you can keep it when the whole playing field is going to change within just a few years. and as you said so very well women make those decisions, 75% of the women are very comfortable with what they have and women want to be able to shop for a plan that is going to best meet the needs of their families. at this time i want to recognize dr. foxx, the gentlelady from north carolina for her comments. i yield.
ms. foxx: i thank the the gentlewoman from tennessee for beginning the hour for us. and you know, we stand up here and we talk a lot about what's in this bill and i know that many americans wonder if we're telling the truth or not. but as you pointed out, there is a provision in that bill that will do away with private health insurance policies beginning in 2013. if people want to find that, they can find it on page 94, section 202-c. i heard when you i came, talked about how to read the bill. all of us have web sites with links to the bill and i'm assuming most people have links to these page numbers and section numbers that will back up what we're saying. i think one of the best things
that has come out of the debate that has been going on about this health care and as our colleague from illinois said earlier, if this was such a great idea, this bill would have been passed in july as our colleagues across the aisle wanted. but it isn't a good idea and it has been very contentious. but we point out to people what's in the bill and people have been reading the bill. and i think that's a very healthy thing to do and i hope people will continue to read the bill. and i'm a bit surprised actually that today, the bill was introduced on thursday. we didn't have session on friday. but tonight when we have special orders and the democrats had the first hour, i thought they would be here defending this bill and explaining to the american people why this is such a wonderful thing. and yet, they didn't show up. and here we are doing our best
to explain to our fellow americans what's wrong about this bill and why they shouldn't be supporting it. but i have found democrats out here defending the bill saying, let me tell you on page 94 what's good or on page 212. it seems to me if they really liked this bill, they would be doing that. i know over time, we have done that kind of thing. and i want to say to my colleague from tennessee how important i think it is to point out that there are going to be 111 new bureaucracies established by this bill. you know, i'm a small government conservative and i have the same experiences that our colleagues from west virginia had. everywhere i went this weekend, people said to me vote no on
that health care bill. do everything you can to stop that health care bill. i'm not finding people who are saying to me, vote for this. my mail's running about 9 1/2 against it to one. i think that the average american understands that increased government intrusion in our lives takes away our freedom. . this country is the freest country in the world, we're the greatest country in the world because of that. but when you expand the federal government's power over our lives that undermines our freedom. but nancy pelosi's big government health care bill is the single largest expansion of government that we've seen in over a generation. it is, i think, a threat to our
freedom and i believe the average american understands that. there's a big difference -- when i talk to school groups say i to them, you know, the major difference between democrats and republicans is we believe that individuals can solve most of their problems. yes, we need government. we need a police force, we need an army. there are many things we need. but very few things at the federal level do we need. and republicans have figured this out. we've made proposals, we've not talked much about those tonight and i think we at least need to say that we've made these proposals that fit with what the american people want. they want to be able to buy insurance across state lines, they want to take a tax deduction for paying insurance premiums like their employer does, they want to be able to get into pools like my small business can join with other
small businesses, we want to let the states come up with innovations. we have lots lots and lots of ideas like that that won't cost $1.4 trillion but will solve this problem for the approximately 10 million americans who want health insurance but can't afford it. we are turning our whole country upside down to take care of 10 million americans who want insurance but can't afford it. we want to do that. and what it's going to do, if the american people have any hesitation about what we're talking about in erms it of where we're going with health -- terms of where we're going with health careworks he need to point out that the going to allow the i.r.s. to be monitoring small businesses and ultimately us as individuals. i don't know anybody this country that wants to be dealing -- anybody in this country that wants to be dealing with -- dialing with the i.r.s. we know what a freandly group they are and we know what's
going to happen to these bureaucracies that take over our health care decisions and that's just the wrong way to go. and we can beat this thing. we need the american people to be calling their members of congress who are on the other side, who are either undecided or said they're going to vote for it, and say, this is not what we want. we don't want a further erosion of our freedoms. we want to remain the greatest country in the world and with that i yield to my colleague from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: and i thank the gentlelady for yielding back and i appreciate that she mentioned about how states need to be able to innovate how they handle the medicaid payments that are there. this is so very important because they are the once that are delivering these services and this bill would increase the eligibility for medicaid to 150% of the federal poverty level. now, what this does is to shift
that burden over to our states. it takes that burden from the federal government and places it squarely in the lap of our states. now, most of our states -- states have balanced budget amendments and here we are handing them -- now, in my state of tennessee we know we have heard from our governor's office that the expectation is this is going to cost us an extra $735 million per year. i know every state around the country is looking to see what it would cost them and they know that by shifting that medicaid burden, expanding that eligibility to 150% and then shifting that burden to the states, well, it may help them with budgeting, those that are trying to pass this bill and are looking for budget gimmicks and trying to say, oh, it's going to cost less than $1 trillion, well, that gimmickry might help
them but for the taxpayer who already has too much month left at the end of this monday, what you are doing is saying, get ready, your sales tax is going up, your state property tax is going up, your -- you're going to see state income taxes going up and it's all because the federal government said, states get ready, it's coming to land in your lap and i recognize at this time the gentlelady from oklahoma, ms. fallin, for her comments and i hope she'll have a few comments to say about how this would affect the states and i yield to the gentlelady. ms. fallin: thank you. i thank the gentlelady from tennessee and you're right. i've heard from a lot of my state senators, my state representatives, my agencies in oklahoma that if we pass a massive new federal government bureaucrat health care bill that has unfunded mandates, which this bill does, that those costs will be passed on down to the states and there's only one way
that you pay for those extra services and costs and that would have to be through tax increases or cutting spending. and of course a lot of states right now are experiencing budget short falls and they are having to cut back already in -- back already. in my state we've already cut back services in our state. if we have more unfunded mandates on our state government, whether it's through the expansion of medicaid, whether it's through the $5 pun billion that is being proposed to cut -- $500 billion that is being proposed to cut seniors in medicare services or the taxes on medical devices or services being eliminated, those costs get passed on down and ultimately it's going to be the say the that will be picking up those costs. i appreciate what the other gentleman, congresswoman foxx, said about freedom and taking away the freedom of choice and our liberties and our nation and i think many people i talk to are very concerned about where is our nation going? we seem to be looking more like a european nation where we have huge bureaucracies and so much
debt that the being piled upon not only our children but our grandchildren and frankly people are very worried about the future and about our security, our economic security, our national security. especially at a time when we're experiencing a recession and people are concerned about keeping their jobs, supporting their families, making house payments. and they're very concerned. i know some of the people i've been talking to, a lot of the small business owners are very concerned about the proposed taxes that will be put on to the small businesses. there were some congressional hear wgs small businesses here and they have talked about how tough it is right now for to get access to capital, to get access to loans and how they had to cut back some of their employees and some of their revenues have dropped off and they told us in congressional hearings that if we pass another tax as is being proposed and it would affect small businesses, that they will have to lay people off. and then if we have some type of
government mandate to provide health insurance because a small business owner can't afford to provide that interest through their small business employees, then they say that they might just have to either lay off people to provide for that insurance or if they have to pay that new tax, that they will have to just cut off some of their products or cut off some of their future plans, to expand their businesses, or not even just drop the coverage that they have and move forward the government plan because they will just pay the 8% tax, which, gets back to your point, as to eliminating some of our options in the private sector, people start dropping the private sector insurance plants because they are seeing a shift to the government plans and will have less options. as i have visited around people in oklahoma they have asked me several questions. they want to know, is this health care reform bill that speaker pelosi and harry reid and the senate are proposing, is it going to lower costs?
and i can't say it's going to lower costs. we're talking about almost $1 trillion. we're talking about debt, we're talking about deficit. they're asking if their children are going to have more have costs of more deficit piled on them? i have to say, i think the answer is yes. they're asking, will this health care reform proposal offer them more choices or will it take away some of their say and be able to choose what kind of health insurance they want for their family? they want to make those decisions but my analysis is, it's going to take away choices for those families. they're asking if it's going to make health insurance more affordable. well, a lot of the estimates we're seeing from a lot of think tank groups, when you pile on over $800 billion in new taxes, we have mandates, when you have unfunded mandates, when you are rationing the care, it's not going to make health care more affordable. and then they're asking if the federal government is going to be more involved in decision making for their health care choices and according to this
bill looks like there will be a federal bureaucrat basically between the patient and the doctor and they want to know if this bill will lead to rationing of care. we've seen what has happened when other nations have implemented some type of government-run health care, that it does lead to rationing of care. there have been people who have died waiting to receive treatment in canada and europe as well. documented. so, all those questions that are being asked of me by my constituents, i can't prove to them that it will lower costs, that it will not increase the deficit, that it will give us more choices. it appears to me that this is going exactly the opposite and i think congresswoman, we have to tell the american people, there are lots of other health care pieces of legislation that we have been working on that would provide choice, that would lower cost, that would work on issues like portability where you can keep your health insurance if you change jobs, that would eliminate pre-existing conditions so you don't lose coverage, that would have medical malpractice reform which
is estimated to save health insurance costs, that would allow us to be able to pool together to lower costs for small businesses, there are some great language that would allow more education, those types of things. there's just all kinds of problems in this legislation that i think the american people are very concerned about, especially since we've been debating behind closed doors on this. mrs. blackburn: i thank the gentlelady. she's exactly right. much of this has been done behind closed doors by our colleagues across the aisle and many of the great ideas that have been brought forward that do stay focused, have been brought forward by the republicans in the house, whether it's the republican study committee bill, my bill, john shadegg's bill, paul ryan's bill, any of the number of amendments, over 100 amendments that we at energy and commerce
have, when we were marking up the bill. so there are lots of good ideas on our side of the aisle and at this time i want to recognize the gentlelady from minnesota, mrs. bachmann, who has been so instrumental in helping to lead the debate on health care here in the house and yield to her for her comments on the issue and i yield to the gentlelady. mrs. bachmann: i thank the gentlelady from tennessee, mrs. blackburn. she's just been -- done an outstanding job tonight for leading this and thank you for what you're doing. we have so many women in our conference that wanted to be here tonight. they can't all be here and the women in our conference understand one thing and it's that women as is stated over and over this evening in the united states overwhelmingly make the health care decisions not only for their families, not only for their children, not only for their parents, but quite often women run a lot of the h.r., the human resources offices, as well in business after business.
and i think one thing that people in business are understanding is they're going to have fewer choices before them rather than more. because what we've seen from the bill that the speaker of the house released just last friday -- last thursday, excuse me, i believe it was on page 92, is that by the year 2013, no one will be able to purchase private insurance anymore. that's it. now just let that thought penetrate for a moment. if we're to be frozen in time and we can purchase no new private insurance after 2013, what will happen? what will happen to our choices? what will happen to the plans that we really have? well, it's interesting, a lot of people haven't been waiting around, they've been doing studies. one group call the -- called the levin group showed that by looking at the health care bill that we have in front of us in all likelihood about 114 million
americans will be thrown off the current health insurance plan they have and onto the government system which means 114 million americans won't have the health care that the president said we'd all be entitled to keep. we remember what the president said. he said, if you like your current health care plan, no problem, you can keep it. the only problem is, that's just not so. and if you take 114 million americans, throw them off the health care they already like, well then they're stuck being in the government's plan and that means fewer choices and that means the women of america don't get to make the choices anymore. it's government and i think the thing that all americans -- american women really get out of this is that there's going to be an enormous hassle factor. there's a big hassle cost that's in all of this and that's what we women deal with.
we deal with hassles. hassles with our job, hassles with the kids, hassles with trying to make the books balance and now the biggest hassle of all -- life and death decisions because the government literally controls the health care decisions from cradle to grave, that means the hassle cost goes way up and that's the last thing we women need right now. women are tired. we're burdened. we have so many things on our plates and i think especially women who are senior citizens because they're watching this debate and they get that $500 billion is going to be cut out of medicare. that's what we know. cut out. gone. so what that means is scarcity. that means less. so we're all going to be paying a lot more but we're all going to be getting a lot less and the simple fact is we can do so much better and the republican women here know that there are many positive solutions that we can
do. we can really do a lot better. i'll be real brief and end with this, one positive solution that we can take is this, i'm a former tax lawyer. rather than government owning your health care and making all the decisions, or rather than your employer making the health care decisions for you, we change the tax code so that you, every american, gets to make your own health care decision. you own it, you make the decision, it's a wonderful thing. so you own it, you make the health care decision and you get to take your own money, tax free, purchase the health care plan of your choice, you're not limited to what government says you buy, you buy any plan, anywhere, anything that we don't cover out of your own tax free money you get to fully deduct on your income tax return, have true lawsuit reform that costs billions of dollars, that covers 95% of americans, so the 5% who truly through no fault of their
own can't afford health insurance, we can take care of them and we will take care of them but we won't break the bank to do it. . i yield back to mrs. blackburn of tennessee. mrs. blackburn: i thank the gentlelady from minnesota for being with us here tonight as we have brought forward the alternatives that are there, the good solid positive, free market oriented alternatives that are there from our conference and from the women in our conference. i thank everyone for joining us. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. roe, for 60 minutes.
mr. roe: thank you, madam speaker. we are here tonight to continue the discussion of health care and i think before i get started, i'm a freshman here in congress and i want to tell you about myself and why i'm here to discuss this. i grew up in the rural south in a small rural community. my father was a factory worker. went to college, went to medical school at the university of tennessee. the real u.t. for my texas friends. and spent two years in the military. trained in an urban hospital. spent time in an medical battalion in korea and served in a military hospital, v.a.
hospital. practiced in johnson city, tennessee, that's in northeast tennessee and taught medical school to residents, interns and had experience of 31 years in private practice. my specialty was obstetrics and gynecology where i delivered 5,000 babies so i bring a unique experience to the house floor and i'm privileged to be part of this debate. what i would try to do in any case i would see is try to identify the problem. in america, we are trying to identify a problem with health care. and certainly we have heard it on both sides of the aisle that we need health care reform. i think the main reason for that are two, one are costs, health care costs are escalating beyond the ampling person's ability to pay for the care and access to adequate care for all of our citizens.
and we have in this country about 170 million of our citizens are covered by their jobs. and this started after world war ii as an incentive to get workers to come work for a particular company. and it has grown since that time. and it's been a good thing for most people. we have been able to provide a level of care in this country that has been unequaled to anywhere in the world. what i have been able to see since 1970 when i gauted from medical school were advances that i didn't even dream of. the one advance we haven't seen come to fruition was the cure for cancer. but we have made tremendous strides in cancer, heart disease, diabetes and so on. so we have a cost issue and access. we have approximately 47 million of our citizens in this country that don't have, are not covered
currently by health insurance and who are they? we believe the census bureau says 10 million folks are here illegally in the country and we believe that probably nine million or so have incomes of $75,000 a year, their own choice and eight million people where they are stretched, they are small business. the cost factor has gotten so expensive that these folks can't afford it. we are looking at about 20 million in this country who are working poor who don't have access to care. how are we providing the care in this country? we are using private health insurance. we have a group of people and many people use their own employer, small businesses, health savings accounts, there are variations of -- that people use to buy their health insurance. we have the government now which provides about 46 cents of every
dollar spent on health care, with medicare and medicaid and the v.a. we have them approaching the government taxpayers approaching 50% of the care and we have the 15% who don't have coverage at this time. so how do we go about providing keeping the costs down, quality high and the access? we are joined here this evening and -- by dr. john fleming and i turn it over to you to continue this thought i put forward. mr. fleming: i thank my colleague and good friend, dr. roe from the great state of tennessee. i visited there many times, smokey mountains and speaking of smokey, everything is smoked and so delicious that you want top eat the bark off of trees. it's a lovely state.
like you, i grew up in a working middle class environment. had to work my way through college. my mother became disabled when i was five and my father died just as i graduated from high school. and i suddenly had the burden of kind of helping out with the family and working my way through college and ultimately medical school, with which the help of the u.s. navy, i was able to do that and served six honorable years, some of the best years of my life and my wife in the navy practicing medicine in such duty stations as guam, charleston, south carolina, oceanside, california, camp pendleton marine base. it was an honor to serve my country as a physician. i have been in private practice since 1982, family medicine. still see patients.
i still provide care, still dealing day-to-day with all the issueses that all of us as physicians deal with. like you in your many years of practice, i carry the burden about what a wonderful contrast we have here. we have tremendous quality of care and best of care and best of technology, but yet some people do have access problems. and there's no question about it. that needs to be solved. i ran on a reform campaign, health care reform, i wanted reform. i came here to reform. but you know what i found when i got here is really anything but reform. what i'm seeing is a congress that has taken a sudden left turn towards socialism to dismantle what is the best health care system in the world and remake it into the same
image as cuba, north korea, soviet union, u.k., canada, some of the states like your own who have experimented with socialized medicine and government takeover of medicine have failed. i have been to venues and asked please show me one example where government-run health care has ever been successful. and i have yet to find one single example. so, like you, i'm very interested in health care reform. it's common sense that makes the costs go down. that's the common theme today. and there are so many ways i'm sure we'll get into as we go forward and i thank the gentleman. mr. roe: we have been joined by our colleague from wyoming, mrs. lummis. and i now yield time to you.
mrs. lummis: i thank the gentleman from tennessee who has tremendous experience with government-run health care in the state of tennessee. and after he saw the 1,990-page bill that we received last week and see how much government intervention is involved through that bill, how many unfunded mandates are being passed onto the states, how many government bureaucracies are created, how many times the word shall appears in that bill. this is truly transformational. some of the members of our caucus have said this is the most significant debate that they have ever been involved in. so those of us who are freshman and did come here to reduce the size of state government or reduce spending or to as the gentleman from louisiana said, reform health care, we're seeing
things that we hoped would not be a consequence and that being more government intervention, more spending, more involvement in our lives. and so we're here to protect people from more government intervention and to protect the relationship that you have with your doctor, with your local community hospital, with your health care providers so you all can make decisions regarding your own lives and your own quality of treatment and the efforts that you will make to enjoy the type of health care and quality of life that you hope to have in your communities. and that is reflecttive in this recent survey of women, 64% of american women would rather have private health insurance. 66% describe their health insurance as excellent or good. 74% describe their health care
as excellent or good. 75% want no changes made in their own health care. we all know that there needs to be some reform. the cost is too high and in some areas, access is limited and certainly with regard to medicare in rural areas, hospitals and doctors are not reimbursed for the full costs of providing the services that they provide. in my home state of wyoming, in fact, the hospital in casper, wyoming said they are only reimbursed 1/3 of providing care to a medicare patient. some doctors that are reimbursed at low levels have decided not to take medicare patients anymore. when things like that happen, we really are denying access to care by having a government-run program. but not only that, and this is